Major problems with viral story about Johns Hopkins ‘study’ on COVID-19 deaths

Sweeping the right-wing media ecosystem, amplified by massively viral tweets, is the claim that Johns Hopkins released — and quickly deleted — a study showing COVID-19 hasn’t led to an increase in deaths in the U.S. this year.

It’s being used to justify false narratives that the pandemic isn’t deadly and that lockdowns are tyrannical overreach by state governments. One often-linked write-up on PJ Media, a right-wing political site, describes the story thusly:

“According to the study, ‘in contrast to most people’s assumptions, the number of deaths by COVID-19 is not alarming. In fact, it has relatively no effect on deaths in the United States.’ Wait, what? Really? That’s what it says. And, it should come as no surprise that the study was deleted within days.”

There are, however, major issues with this so-called study.

For one, calling it a “Johns Hopkins study” is inaccurate. The now-broken URL didn’t

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